According to The Hollywood Reporter, Thomas the Tank Engine creator Britt Allcroft has resigned from HIT Ent. home of the Bob the Builder and Barney properties. Allcroft, who was appointed nonexecutive director in January 2003, is reportedly leaving the board effective at month’s end in order to focus on increased media commitments under her new venture, Britt Allcroft Productions.
Allcroft became involved with HIT when the company bought her production banner, The Britt Allcroft Company. She was then instrumental in HIT’s July 2002 acquisition of Gullane Ent., which she co-founded and sold the Thomas franchise to three years prior.
She will remain a creative consultant on the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends television series. In addition to her TV work, she wrote, directed and produced the 2000 big-screen adventure Thomas and the Magic Railroad and produced the animated feature Mumfie: The Movie.
Allcroft founded The Britt Allcroft Company in 1982 with a ’50,000 bank loan and a second mortgage on her family home in Southampton. The business then began adapting Rev. W. Awdry’s Thomas stories, using Ringo Starr and George Carlin as narrators. The property has since become one of the most successful children’s entertainment and licensing franchises of recent years.